March 24, 2022
Review by Graham Waldrop
I had a really good time at this show. Went with my buddy who was my
college roommate who came in town for the show. We bonded over Dylan
so long ago and we've been to a few shows together so that was fun. Also
went with my wife and another friend of mine who is also a huge Dylan fan
and his girlfriend. Good times were had by all.
My wife and I went to the Louisville show last year so we knew what to
expect for the most part in terms of set list, but man, not in terms of the
confidence Bob had last night on the RARW material in particular. I also have
not listened to anything from this year's tour yet.
Here's my review:
Watching The River Flow and Most Likely
These seem to just be throw away songs to get Bob warmed up. The
band did a nice job but Bob was definitely not in prime form on these
tunes. The sound issues from last tour have long since been resolved in
terms of these first two at least.
Soft and delicate delivery for the first half of this song. A little much
barking for me on the back half (all the pretty MAAAAIDS), but a nice
The delivery on this was outstanding. Bob just killed this song and you
could understand everything perfectly. I thought the instrumental parts
were off a little bit in terms of the band's timing, but other than that,
this was killer.
A lovely jaunt delivered tenderly by Bob. My old college roommate love
this one, it's one of his favorites. Donnie killed it on the violin.
Haunting and very effective.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
I've never liked this song, but it was enjoyable, particularly from an i
My Own Version Of You
Performance of the night! Holy shrimp! Bob delivered the vocals like a
mad scientist, and the band was really locked in here. The Mr. Freud
with his dreams bit was spine tingling and then going into one strike of
lighting is all that I need... just, wow. This could have been the only
performance and I would have gone home satisfied. Definitely on par
with the Boston performance from last year which was my overall favorite
show of the last tour.
Crossing The Rubicon
Death to Early Roman Kings, thank God. This was just a groovy
performance. Very understated with some changes to the lyrics
sprinkled throughout and an entirely new verse that I don't remember
the words to off the top of my head.
To Be Alone With You
Felt rushed but again Donnie killed it on the violin.
Absolutely bizarre. It felt like a murder ballad or something. I've never
been against Bob rearranging anything, but this was disgusting from a
melodic standpoint (the band still did a great job with it). The
instrumental bits with no singing sounded like the beginning of
Brownsville Girl which was... interesting.
Bob sounded great vocally, but the tone and spirit of the song was
completely lost here. I was disappointed by this one for sure, particularly
when this was probably the best Bob has sounded vocally in a show that
Out of the five shows (including this one) that I've seen since 2018 which
all featured this song, this was the best performance of Gotta Serve
Somebody that I've witnessed in person. Bob sounded fantastic, the band
was grooving and it was just tremendously done.
I've Made Up My Mind
My favorite song off of RARW once again done exceptionally well. Bob
didn't hold out the parts at the end of the verse as long or as heavenly as
he did last year and this was kind of more spoken word (as was a lot of
the songs last night were), but it was still beautifully done. The lot of
people gone lyric delivery was sublime. This one got the waterworks
flowing for me for sure.
This was better than the rendition in Louisville and I liked the beginning
instrumental but this feels like an intermission song or something.
Mother of Muses
Tenderly performed. I'm not a big fan of this song, but it was well done
last night for sure.
Goodbye Jimmy Reed
Like last tour, this song is being done live in too restrained of a fashion. T
his should tear the house down live, but Bob and the boys haven't gone
there with this one. Restraining Rubicon makes sense, but Jimmy Reed
needs to have the same energy as Serve Somebody. It's good, but it
should be great.
Every Grain of Sand
I think I liked the last tour performance better than this one, but it was
still really good and a fitting way to end the show.
So many people were talking throughout the whole performance. I
just... don't understand this behavior. An aside is one thing, but a lot of
people were treating this like they were at a restaurant and the boys
were playing in the background.
The lighting and smoke effects were very David Lynchian and totally bad
ass. Hats off to the crew, the atmosphere was tremendous.
The sound was great. The FOX always has good acoustics, but this was
one of the better sounding Bob shows I've been to, if not the best.
This show was better than the Louisville one by a mile. I know I
mentioned the confidence factor here, but I think Bob is getting really
comfortable with these RARW songs. The band also seems a lot more
comfortable with the material. They're not really getting a chance to
spread their wings, but hopefully that will come with time.
Bob's vocals are consistently the clearest I've heard them in person.
There are performances over the years I've liked more than some of the
ones tonight, but in terms of a complete show that I've been to, I've
never heard Bob sound as resonant as he did last night, which was just
great to hear. I think over the last four years he's done such a better
job of vocal delivery than like every 10 or 15 years ago, but tonight he
was locked in after those first two songs consistently.
Review by Tampa Steve
I somehow managed to not peek at the set lists from prior shows on this
Rough & Rowdy Ways Tour. I’m really glad I didn’t. This show was
packed with happy surprises for me. I expected the album to be played in
its entirety at the beginning of the show, with perhaps a second set of
older songs. Instead, the band opened with a fun “Watching the River
Flow” followed by a scorching “Most Likely You Go Your Way”. Pow. I
was grinning hard. The first of the R&RW songs came up next, and I was in
the mood to hear them. Dylan sang as good or better than ever, with extra
focus on the newer songs. He has lost nothing in terms of performance
power, and his band was on fire. I was fooled by the new arrangement of
“When I Paint My Masterpiece” for a few lines, then it dawned on me.
Of all the songs, this one was the loosest, with moments of seeming
mis-cues or at least odd beats in the arrangement. No harm done though.
The profanity in “Black Rider” came through loud and clear in the mix.
Nobody gasped. “Key West” was a minor climax, then “Gotta Serve
Somebody” blew the roof off. It was a stunning display, and totally
unexpected in the guise of its new rock arrangement. From there, it was
a slow glide down to “Every Grain of Sand”, a fitting ending that left
no need for an encore.
Review by Laurette Maillet
From Nashville to Atlanta.
The plan is : Simon and I will join at the greyhound bust station in
Nashville at 4am for a bus at 4.35am riding to Atlanta, arriving by 10am.
The bus is already two hours delayed when we reach the station :(
More delayed and more delayed. We finally have some information :
there had been a bad accident on the freeway going North to South
and our bus is stuck there.
We start panicking; Simon has a reservation for the Aquarium in
Atlanta and we have both reservations for room. Plus the show is
tonight. We try to find all solutions: another bus, a train, a flight, ...
We are resolute to take Uber at the last solution and loose a
fortune :( I have another solution. Maybe kindly ask some Fans going
that direction. Tim and Thomas will accept to give us a ride. I can't be
too thankful. After four hours ride we reach Atlanta, safe and sound.
Simon goes to the Aquarium and I check in my youth hostel. It's just a
private house where the bedrooms had been turned into dorms. A little
bit crowded as I share with.. three men :)
I manage to ride the trains; lines blue and yellow :) for three dollars to
reach downtown. Or else it's ...one hour and 40 minutes walk :(
By 6pm I am downtown by the Fox Theater. I am exhausted (not
having slept) and starving but...there is a show tonight :) :)
Tim has a ticket for me, so no worry
The FOX theater is again one of those heavily decorated venue, like
the Majestic. My seat is perfect. I relax.
Bob is late tonight, starting at 8.06 pm :)
He will not go to the center stage before "False prophet". He looks
tired or maybe it's me ???
The people around me are horribly unrespectful.
Two guys behind me will comment incessantly about ... Bob Dylan
on stage. Three girls in front of me are chatting and are obviously
drunk, going and coming with drinks. One will almost be taken out
after the security guy who asked her three times to put down her
telephone. But for some obscure reason Roger (Dylan security guard)
will intervened. Wrongly for she starts chatting loud about the wrong
doing...:( She will decide all by herself to leave the show. Great! :)
The two women next to me open their mobile and start laughing on some
pics when Bob is doing "Key west". I am upset by now and ask them to
be quieter. Nothing funny about "Key west".
Fortunately the Lady on my left is passionate and will even buy some
of my prints :) A couple behind me, also, will get some of my prints
and we exchange after the show.
White lambs among dark lambs.
It doesn't disturb Bob and the Band who are doing well on stage.
Bob finally will move center stage for maybe five times, posing for ...
"I'll be your Baby tonight" sounds strange. The lyrics are not right :)
I have to listen to that version more carefully.
Simon also realized changes in lyrics, deliberately or not :) :)
The show is good but not the best due to the desruption of the
crowd. Simon suggests to turn OFF the light on the patrons to put
them at rest....
I sell more of my prints outside to a crowd excited.. drunk I believe.
And return home on the trains, yellow and blue lines.
So all together a weird, stressful, tiredly day.
But all for the best at the end.
Thanks to all the good people for help: Tim, Thomas?Simon?
Corky (on WhatsApp) , ...
Next is Savannah...and again complicated
It's life on the road.
See you in Savannah Bobby....if all goes well!
Review by Adam Selzer
Back to the starting place! The Fox was the site of my first Bob show,
back in 95 - two days after I saw Nine Inch Nails opening for David Bowie.
What a week that was! Now, decades on, I took my dad to his second Bob
show - the first being with me in 98, when he was just slightly younger
than I am now. One sure things about these things a lot at Bob shows - at
least those of us who've now been measuring our lives by these little
milestones for such a chunk of our lives.
Since everyone already knows the setlist, and probably what most of the
songs sounded like, I'll just note here that Bob was in exceptional voice.
I missed the center stage antics from the fall tour, and the lights on the
piano made it hard to see him. There was one fun moment when he stepped
aside to fuss with his hair, and I could just see his silhouette against
the yellow curtain - it was like the cover image on Expecting Rain in real
life! Some songs are a bit looser than they were in the fall - the
"Phantom of the Opera" version of "Key West" might suit the show better
than the song. It's interesting to hear it infused with a bit of menace,
which suits this show well, but it's just not that menacing a song.
The real highlight of the evening, bar none, was "My Own Version of You."
I felt like it seemed more and more like a Shakespeare monologue over the
course of the Fall tour, and now it's even moreso- there was a section
when the band largely stepped back, and Dylan was declaiming the lyrics
accompanied mainly by the drums. Declaiming is the word - it was like
watching a great Shakespearean actor overacting just a bit, because it was
a role like Iago or Richard III where you -can- overact and it'll all just
be a part of fun. Such a blast to see. Reminded me of Isis in 75, only I
was here to see it. It drew me in, spooked me, and even made me forget
how badly I had to pee right about then. Even a quick moment of Bob
forgetting the words didn't mess it up. What a performance. It seems like
every time I travel to a show, there's one song that makes the whole trip
worth it - "Masterpiece" at the Beacon in 18, "Key West' in DC, and this
one. Etc. "You know what I mean? You know exactly what I mean."
Some other great mentions go to a cooking rendition of "Serve Somebody," a
nice long harp solo at the start of Masterpiece, and cool "Rubicon." Great
to see some old friends from my Atlanta days again, and such a gorgeous
venue. Hope I see everybody again this fall.
Review by Scott Marshall
"Atlanta (and beyond)-man, he could tell these stories all day"
For a Spring eve in the Deep South, a bit chilly, temperature dipping into the
40s, as a nice, light wind blows in the metropolitan city Dylan will play in
tonight, a city that has possessed the world's largest airport for some time
now. For all its Southern charms and beauty, outright terror has paid its visits
here, too, those deep blues hard to grapple with, from the Civil War in the
1860s to a 1974 murder in a church not long after a long-haul civil rights
struggle, to a serial killer of children in the early 1980s, to Lord-knows-what
Atlanta, Georgia's Fox Theatre-where Dylan and his band entertained a nearly
sold-out crowd (4,200 of 4,600 seats sold, as of the day before, says Mary,
a nice usher inside the venue)-opened its doors in 1929. This happened to
be the same year the Great Depression reared its ugly head, but also the year
when a 24-year-old Atlanta native-Alberta Christine Williams King-gave birth to
a baby boy who would become a very famous man, by age 35, the youngest
Nobel Prize winner. Tonight at the Fox, the man born Robert Allen Zimmerman,
another Nobel winner (at age 75) name-checked this world-famous figure via
his new Rough and Rowdy composition, "Mother of Muses". From a wonderful
seat within the Fox, row N (13 rows back, center), yours truly found the
sound mix too loud, but knew "Watching the River Flow," "Most Likely You Go
Your Way and I'll Go Mine," and "I Contain Multitudes" commenced the
concert. Extremely grateful, just to be here, especially with my beloved of
nearly a quarter century (her first show in over 20 years), and a dear brother
and his daughter, the latter of whom I discovered heard "Lord Protect My
Child" as an infant, a dad-initiated musical heart cry to the crib from the year
1991, thanks to the inaugural edition of The Bootleg Series.
Haven't seen Dylan since Huntsville, Alabama, 2016, when my sister graciously
invited me to a concert that transpired just as Dylan publicly "broke his silence"
through a U.K. newspaper with Edna Gundersen regarding his being awarded
the Nobel Prize. These sweet concert tickets in 2022 came into my lap
compliments of a radio station: 97.1 FM, The River, out of Atlanta, a classic
rock station where Steve Craig, "English Nick," Kaedy Kiely, and Debra Green
do the faithful weekday work of deejay duties. Tried to win a pair of Dylan
tickets from English Nick (a transplant to Atlanta, he is, indeed, a native of
England), but failed; was only caller #12 when #25 was the winner. However,
redemption arrived after I heard of an online registration opportunity on the
radio's website; about a week later discovered I was the winner of this
premium package of 4 tickets. Holy man. Then my wife surprises me and my
Dylan partner with lodging at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, literally right across
the street from the venue. This hotel opened its doors a generation before
the Fox Theatre, back in 1911, the same year the Titanic launched (the
following year, it'd go down on its maiden voyage; a century later, Dylan's
Tempest had something to say about it).
By one enchanted evening in 1939, the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta
would play host to actor Clark Gable and others, as traffic was stopped and a
red carpet unfurled across Peachtree Street. Why? So Gable and company
could get the royal treatment, departing the hotel and strolling the hundred
paces or so straight into the Fox Theatre, to take in the premiere of the
movie they starred in-Gone with the Wind. As my wife did the research and
made the reservation, she had no idea about any of this. Digging around a
bit online, made some discoveries, and realized like anywhere on planet Earth,
some ghosts populated these parts.
By springtime of 1981, as Dylan labored to finish Shot of Love-an album that
yielded the eloquent beauty of "Every Grain of Sand," the current tour's
closer-a 35-year-old Los Angeles native and New York City transplant, on
assignment for The Village Voice, issued these observations about the Peach
State's capital: "What one first notices after traveling the interminable distance
through the ugly Hartsfield Airport-the world's largest-is the spring air and the
brightness of the sun," wrote Stanley Crouch. "Then there are pine trees
that seem primitive and gargantuan bottle brushes, slopes that give the city a
roller coaster effect, many churches made of wood or stone, and more than a
few fronted by Grecian columns, and finally the new office buildings and hotels
and entertainments for conventioneers and locals that spread out from the
enter of town to impinge upon what classical American structures were left
unharmed by the assault of Sherman's troops and the march of the modern
age. There is a terror there, however, and it brutally counterpoints the city's
typically Southern relaxation, eloquence, humor, and fatalistic sullenness. It is
expressed in the somber understatement of a fine preacher quietly describing
Satan, or it stutters the rhythm of speech like a loose fan belt." These words
by Crouch, who we lost in 2020, age 74, seem apropos.
Before the show, I met Brant and Stephanie, who had just met one another,
the latter of whom scored a ticket from the former. Brant was attending his
7th Dylan gig and Stephanie her 280th, no kidding. I informed him that she
had been to 40 times more Dylan shows than her, proud of a headful of
mathematical ideas driving me insane. After the show, met a guy from the
U.K. who said he was in the States on business (New York City), but was
also here to see Dylan because you "have to see him when you can." Fabian,
another guy I met on the sidewalk after the show, a native of Mexico, was
there with his wife taking pictures of the venue's marquee (my wife was,
too, capturing the Rough and Rowdy Ways neon advertisement for the gig,
the now familiar image of that well-dressed skeleton, with top hat, holding a
syringe/needle in one hand, a gift-wrapped box in another (the ad appeared
for a handful of seconds, then it was gone with the wind, and on to the
next advertised event). At first, it was hard for me to follow Fabian's words
because of his accent, but it soon became apparent he was overwhelmed
with gratitude, just to see Dylan. He placed his hand on his heart, referring
to Dylan's music. He said something along the lines of how Dylan was about
to turn 81 (two months, in fact, from where we were standing). When I
was about to tell him how Tony Garnier, you know, was somewhere in his
mid-60s-and had been with Dylan since the summer days of 1989-he
knowingly (and quickly) nodded, informing me that Garnier was born in
1956. My wife summed it up well: the Dylan fans are an odd lot, and also
The highlight of the show, energy-wise-and getting to witness Dylan's new
drummer Charley Drayton- was "Gotta Serve Somebody." Love the
re-vamped lyrics (since 2018-2019) as much as the sound and style. "I've
Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You" and "Mother of Muses" highlights,
too, even with Dylan's voice cracking on the latter, big-time, on the word
"real" as he sang about that authentic love via the Gospel. Additionally, hard
to forget was the crazy long harmonica intro on "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight,"
or wait, maybe that was "When I Paint My Masterpiece." (Another reviewer
will likely make note of it, for accuracy's sake, I'm confident.) Hard to believe
that not too far off from the release of Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume II
(where folks first heard "Watching the River Flow" and "When I Paint My
Masterpiece" on those two vinyl albums from 1971) he was receiving an
honorary doctoral degree in music from Princeton University in New Jersey.
Dylan, 29, who had dropped out of college, mingled briefly at this heady Ivy
League summer event with his fellow honorees, including a recently widowed
43-year-old Alabama native, a woman by the name of Coretta Scott King
(the two together there memorialized by a quick-thinking photographer); her
husband's assassination, two years before, shook a nation and world.
Atlanta houses one of the archives of Martin Luther King, Jr., an archive that
includes some of his home library books he used for study and sermon
purposes (including his one Billy Graham book, The 7 Deadly Sins , a book
from the 1950s whose introduction includes a page where Graham references
Chaucer, Dante, Marlowe, and a contemporary Italian movie.) Although many
know that Atlanta is the home of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the late
King and his father-"Daddy King"-preached for years, it is not as well-known
nowadays that the church is also the site of a tragic chapter in American
history: the late Civil Rights figure's mother was murdered there in 1974,
during a church service, by a troubled soul. The King family's church is only
about a mile and a half from where Dylan just played his songs at the Fox
Theatre. Currently, Wayne Williams, the suspected serial killer of those
dozens of Atlanta children in the early 1980s, remains in prison in Georgia,
following his arrest, trial, and conviction in Atlanta four decades ago.
Outside of the Fox, post-concert, a jovial atmosphere manifested itself; a r
emnant with facemasks reminded of a worldwide pandemic as hundreds milled
about the neon, traffic, restaurants, bars, and old buildings. Also in the mix was
a fellow that looked to be in his 50s, right outside the theatre, curbside,
holding court with a handful, and holding up a homemade poster that said
something about the Second Coming and that Dylan was the last prophet
(incidentally, very recently, I hear Dylan ain't no false prophet). This poster,
this freak flying high in the cool Georgia late-night air is extremely tempting to
dismiss: "Well, there's one in every crowd." In the aftermath of the last
worldwide pandemic, over a century ago, a man who lived in relative obscurity
(and has become much more known after his death in 1945)-Blind Willie
Johnson-composed and recorded the song "Jesus is Coming Soon,"
roundabout 1928. This is the same pandemic-associated song Eric Clapton
used (without credit to Johnson) on the song he entitled "We've Been Told
(Jesus Coming Soon)" that kicked off Clapton's 1975 album There's One in
Every Crowd. The late Blind Willie Johnson wasn't unfamiliar with the streets
of Atlanta, and he knew his Bible. If Johnson were alive on this earth today,
he and this guy in 2022 standing outside the Fox Theatre with his poster
would likely be able to productively exchange notes, whatever their
differences. Doubtless 20-year-old Bob Zimmerman, when entering the fray
of professionally recorded music through Columbia Records (Bob Dylan, 1962),
had heard the gift that was a Blind Willie Johnson song; he tipped his hat in
his own way through "In My Time of Dyin'" (re: Dylan's nod to Johnson's
"Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed," a song the gospel bluesman recorded in
Dallas around 1928).
On the flip side of this apocalyptic poster held up high outside the Fox,
perhaps the words scrawled on the backside were more memorable, more
recognizable the to the patrons headed for food, beverages, socialization, or
back to home or hotel for sleep, though its composer apparently didn't care
about theology that can offend (or imperfect grammar): "Now there's
spiritual warfare and flesh and blood breaking down / Ya either got faith or
ya got unbelief and there ain't no neutral ground." I walked up to this fellow,
who shared the same name as Dylan's father-Abram-and figured I'd pick up
whatever he was selling, or, rather, giving away. In this case it was a mere t
wo items. First item a small sheet of paper with small text typed on front and
back, with the following headline: "Salt Phobia and The Simple Truth of Why
Americans are So Plagued with Degenerative Diseases like Obesity, Cancer,
Heart Disease, and Drug Addiction"…Hmmm…Second item: a tiny illustrated
booklet, the front featuring the flag of the nation of Israel and then these
words: "Love the Jewish People." A quick sneak peek, the booklet's first
page: "At one time, Egypt was the envy of the world! No nation could
touch her for wealth, military power, agriculture or science"…And then, an
excerpt from this tiny booklet's final page: "The Bible Says There's "Nobody
Else Can Save You. Trust Jesus (Yeshua) Today (underneath the headline
of "The Bible Says There's Only One Way to Heaven!")
Atlanta is just one metro city within just one of 50 states in a country, an
empire, if you will, of over 300 million citizens, but it is an important city.
And if it's true that empires tend to self-destruct roundabout 200 years after
their inception, America's on borrowed time. Meantime, Christine "Willie" King
Farris-Martin Luther King, Jr.'s older sister-now 94, has lived about 40% of
American history, literally. A retired education professor (after 56 years on the
job) and living in Atlanta, she was born September 11, 1927, five years to the
day after Charles Evers was born over in Decatur, Misssissippi (another 9/11
baby, pre-9/11), older brother of Medgar Evers, who we lost, like the
aforementioned Stanley Crouch, in 2020. As a prayer of Moses in one of the
Psalms has it: "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to
Thee a heart of wisdom."
Thank you to Bill Pagel for creating and hosting this website since the dawn
of the worldwide web in the mid-1990s, for promptly posting those set lists
and allowing a publishing platform for people like Laurette who faithfully pen
these reviews, following Bobby Z. in his gypsy travels, giving us these unique
snapshots of the road, the people, the music, the sights, sounds, smells, the
feel of it all. And thank you to Dylan and his band who have commenced
touring on the heels of a pandemic, playing the new and the old-and, more
importantly, the timeless. Man, he could tell these stories all day.
Scott Marshall (pretty much in the Peach, Palmetto, Tarheel, and Sunshine
Review by Noel Mayeske
It's always been special to see Dylan in concert, and even more so now.
One never knows what the future may hold, but with creeping age and
unpredictable interruptions like a pandemic, I wonder how many more times
I'll get to hear my all-time favorite musician again in concert.
So, it was an extra pleasure to see the bard again in Atlanta on March 24
- my 19th Dylan show. Happily, almost exactly 60 years to the day after
his first album was released in 1962, he sounds very good and has vital
songs to bring to us.
Stunningly: the most vital ones in the current show are all new.
I love much of his 2020 album Rough And Rowdy Ways - especially My Own
Version of You, I Contain Multitudes, Black Rider, and I've Made Up My
Mind To Give Myself To You. To my ears, those four songs were the jewels
of this show.
Let's set the scene. The Fox Theatre is a sublime performance space, the
type of venue you swoon at just walking in. A Moorish style structure
awash in rococo flourishes, it exudes a timeless sense of style and - dare
we say this about a building - almost sexy panache. Not unlike the artist
playing the show!
So, a mood is set just by being there. After cocktails at the lovely bar
three doors down beforehand (with Fox employee and lifelong friend Leigh
on hand), my companions Mark, Cecelia and Jennie and I awaited the show
under the unique "moving midnight sky" display on the Fox's ceiling. It's
a bewitching bit of engineering in which the stars appear slowly out of a
cobalt blue sky on the ceiling. I don't want to understand how they do
that magic - just submit to its spell.
Jennie, it turns out, is the daughter of Al Clayton - a famous
photographer who took the back cover photo of Nashville Skyline, not to
mention iconic photos of Dylan with his round glasses and with Johnny Cash
and Bob Johnston in the studio at that time. She's never seen Dylan before
and is as enthralled as Cecelia (who's seen him a few times) and Mark
(with whom I've seen Dylan five times including this show). The excitement
Dylan and his refurbished band (more on that later) take the stage a few
minutes after 8:00, always punctual. The first thing I notice is drummer
Charlie Drayton. He is animated and inventive, driving the faster songs
upwards and finding interesting things to play on the many quiet ones.
Also, being Black and younger-looking, he adds welcome diversity to the
Next, my attention goes to Dylan's vocal delivery, which is strong and
easy to hear all evening. It's obvious that he's working these days to
present the best vocal delivery he can, at nearly 81 years of age. Most
words are very clearly enunciated.
The songs he's chosen to play, and the song arrangements, lend themselves
to a renewed focus on (of all things) That Voice. In my experience, those
who aren't fans generally describe his voice as the main problem. Thus,
naysayers might find it odd or even perverse that since the first Sinatra
covers album in 2015, Dylan has actually doubled down on the primacy of
his vocal delivery in the arrangements. He's put that voice more front and
center than ever - and it works!
The band arrangements provide plenty of air for the voice to fill. There
are almost no solos. No showboating - restraint is the word. Into that
void comes Dylan's voice. Much of that band style was in place long before
the Sinatra records, of course - I saw several shows in the early 2000s
when Dylan almost seemed to have an invisible muzzle on Charlie Sexton,
the talented but (in Dylan's band) underutilized guitarist. "Nobody
outshines the bride!" seems to be the unwritten clause in every band
Along with clear lyrical articulation (usually in a nearly spoken-word
way), there's a sense of subtle urgency to the vocals - not unlike a boss
giving orders (to put it in the worst way) - or like a pumped-up poetry
slam contributor (to put it in the best way). Either way, very clearly
enunciated words, and 80% of those delivered with a bit of a snarl
(especially on many of the newer songs).
Tempo-wise, it's a subtle set of music. I would count 10 of the 17 songs
as "slow and quiet," 4 as "midtempo," and just 3 as "rockin' or up-tempo."
Same with the stage setup - no screens showing closeups of course (like
for all big acts these days), and very subtle lighting. You could barely
see Dylan, really. He was behind the piano the whole night, other than a
handful of times walking over to center stage for a second, standing for a
few seconds with hand on hip, then returning to the piano. Even with good
seats, his facial expressions were close to invisible to me all night.
Let's talk about the band! There's a definite feeling of "newness," with
three new members. In Charlie Sexton's stead are two new guitarists: Bob
Britt and Doug Lancio. As mentioned, Charley Drayton is on drums. Donnie
Herron is still there on violin and pedal and lap steel, and Tony Garnier
remains the longest-tenured member of the band by far, in it since 1989 -
almost the start of the original NET. (Are we in a new NET now?)
I'd like to comment on something other reviewers wrote about in his
November 2021 shows: Dylan's age, balance, and general health. When he hit
the road then, for the first time in 2 years, several reviewers commented
that he seemed a bit unsteady, at times slightly out of it, forgetting a
few lyrics, seeming like he might even fall over onstage if he lost his
balance and such.
I did not notice that in any way. The only small bit of that would be that
he almost always stayed behind the piano, which as Mark joked, was "almost
like a big walker." I mean, he certainly didn't leap about onstage. He
made small, conservative movements, those few times when he emerged from
behind the piano to center stage for a few seconds. And sure, he looked at
those moments like someone of a certain age - just a tiny ginger, but
nothing like "an old man who might injure himself" as some reviewers
seemed to indicate.
Musically, the evening's peak - as in every show of this renewed tour
since November 2021 - is the sublime I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself
to You. The song feels like the culmination of all the love songs he's
written - an intimate-yet-yearning song of love that remains slightly
It was also lovely to hear my favorite recent song on the new record
itself, I Contain Multitudes, for my first (and last?) time live. Of the
older songs, I most enjoyed Masterpiece and I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. But
again, none of those older songs are the stars right now - it's all about
the new record.
I deeply appreciate the chance to have seen my favorite musician live and
in person so very many times. I loved this show, and sure hope to see him
in person again.
Comments by Charles Cicirella
As my friend Dan said I know now wby
Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground. It's just not a hospitable place.
Don't try to get food after a Bob show you'll be waiting till 3 in the
morning. The show was exemplary. Hard to believe, but he seemed even
more dialed in than he was in Nashville. I have to mention this because it
happened to me and friends of mine in both Nashville and Atlanta the
talking is out of control, especially during the quieter songs. People
have no respect and it really does become an annoyance when trying to get
in the zone and cross the Rubicon with Bob. The harp Intro on Masterpiece
is a masterpiece, it's relentless, tears down all the defenses between
Heaven and Hell and leaves you wanting more. See you in Savannah.
| Click Here
to return to the
page by Bill Pagel
| Bob Links
| Set Lists
| Set Lists